Luka Doncic quipped he feels like he is 40 years old after he celebrated his 25th birthday in style.

Doncic became the first player in NBA history to finish with a triple-double on their birthday as he led the Dallas Mavericks to a 136-125 win over the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday.

He finished with 30 points, 16 assists and 11 rebounds for his 11th triple-double of the season.

Doncic has now had 39 30-point triple-doubles, which sees him surpass LeBron James in the all-time list for that feat.

When asked if he considered his 25th birthday as a milestone, Doncic joked: "I feel like [I'm] 40, so no."

Doncic was 11 for 23 from the field and missed 7 of 8 from 3-point range in his 67th career triple-double.

"Just a normal game, triple-double," Jason Kidd said.

"He was really good. I guess 25 means he's still going to be really good as he gets older here."

Kyrie Irving scored 15 of his 29 points in the fourth quarter and P.J. Washington Jr. added 23 points for Dallas, as they bounced back from back-to-back defeats.

"Kyrie and Luka, they had such a poise in important moments to make the right plays," said Raptors coach Darko Rajakovic after his team saw a three-game winning streak snapped.

Doncic added: "We just played aggressive on defense, got out on transition, that's it. 

"My team knows when I'm engaged. Everybody helps everyone to be engaged.

"I'm having so much fun. Back-to-back is always tough, a great win today, I've got to get some rest now."

Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving have proved any doubters wrong after leading the Dallas Mavericks to a seventh straight win.

That is the opinion of coach Jason Kidd, whose Dallas team overcame the Phoenix Suns 123-113 on Thursday.

Doncic had 41 points, nine rebounds and 11 assists, while Irving finished with 29 points.

Dallas have been without at least one of Doncic or Irving in 27 games this season due to injuries, but the duo have now started in the last seven games.

"I think it answers the questions that those two co-exist quite well," Kidd said.

"I think it just shows again, our health, our energy, everything's positive right now. I think the guys are having fun. You can see that energy on the floor.

"They want to win, and you can see that energy on the floor. Those guys are cheering for one another.

"There's going to be mistakes, there's going to be missed shots, but it's on to the next play.

"You can see that. We were on a roll and then we go on [the All-Star] break. Sometimes you can come out flat, but I thought the guys did a great job tonight."

Devin Booker led the Suns with 35 points, though Phoenix were unable to keep Doncic or Irving down.

"You just have to know that, especially after he makes one, that the next one is coming up," Booker said of Irving.

"He's a great player and hard to guard. We definitely could have limited some of those transition looks."

The Suns have lost two of their last four games, and are now one place below the Mavericks in the Western Conference.

"We didn't start the third quarter with enough attentiveness," Suns coach Frank Vogel said.

"We did get a little too stagnant offensively. We had some breakdowns with what we were supposed to do. That led to some tough possessions."

Donovan Mitchell scored 29 points and led a torrid shooting performance from 3-point range that carried the Cleveland Cavaliers to a sixth consecutive win, a 136-110 rout of the Sacramento Kings on Monday. 

Cleveland rolled to its 14th victory in 15 games by going 23 of 41 (56.1 percent) from beyond the arc. Mitchell finished 5 of 11 on 3-point tries and Max Strus was 6 for 10 while adding 22 points.

The Kings got 12 points, 19 rebounds and 15 assists from Domantas Sabonis - his 15th triple-double of the season - but couldn't match the Cavaliers' prolific perimeter shooting as Cleveland began pulling away early in the second quarter.

Cleveland scored five straight points to stretch its lead to 46-36 less than two minutes into the second quarter and went into the half owning a comfortable 74-59 advantage behind Mitchell's 19 points.

The Cavaliers remained up by double digits the rest of the way, with their lead expanding to as many as 29 points late.

Harrison Barnes led Sacramento with 22 points while finishing 6 of 10 from 3-point range. The Kings closed out a seven-game road trip in which they had won five of their first six outings and six of seven overall coming into Monday's clash.

Irving, Doncic lead Mavericks past ailing 76ers

Kyrie Irving and Luka Dončić combined for 42 points in the duo's first appearance together in two weeks to propel the Dallas Mavericks to a 118-102 win over the staggering Philadelphia 76ers.

Irving racked up 23 points on 10-of-17 shooting to go along with eight assists in his return from a six-game absence caused by a sprained right thumb. Doncic had 19 points and eight assists to help Dallas end a two-game skid and deal the ailing 76ers their sixth loss in seven games.

It was just the 23rd time in the Mavericks' 50 games this season they had a healthy Irving and Doncic together in the lineup.

Playing their third straight game without reigning NBA MVP Joel Embiid, who will undergo left knee surgery and is out indefinitely, the Sixers received 19 points from Kelly Oubre Jr. and 17 from Tobias Harris.

All-Star Tyrese Maxey, Philadelphia's second-leading scorer behind Embiid, had 15 points but was just 6 of 16 from the field.

The 76ers did manage to lead 33-26 after one quarter and 57-53 at the half, but Doncic hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 3:57 left in the third quarter to spark an 8-2 run that gave the Mavericks a 77-72 edge near the end of the period.

Dallas then dominated the fourth quarter, outscoring the 76ers by a 41-28 margin with its bench providing most of the offence, as reserves Jaden Hardy and Grant Williams each recorded 10 points in the final 12 minutes. 

Leonard's 36 points help Clippers cap trip with win over Hawks

Kawhi Leonard scored 13 of his 36 points in the fourth quarter as the Los Angeles Clippers outlasted the Atlanta Hawks and completed a successful road trip with a 149-144 victory.

James Harden added 30 points and 10 assists as he and Leonard powered Los Angeles to a ninth win in 10 games. The Clippers went 6-1 on an 11-day trek away from Crypto.com Arena while the venue hosted the Grammy Awards. 

In a fast-paced fourth quarter that saw both teams combine for 90 points, the Clippers outscored Atlanta by a 21-10 margin over a late stretch to move ahead for good.

Leonard began the run with a putback of his own miss that gave Los Angeles a 124-123 lead with 4:52 left, and Harden capped it when he was fouled after hitting a 26-foot jumper with 1:06 to go. He made the free throw to complete the 4-point play and extend the margin to 143-133.

The Hawks put forth a late rally and got to within 147-144 on Bogdan Bogdanović's 3-pointer with 26.7 seconds remaining, but Harden sunk two free throws on the ensuing possession to keep Atlanta at bay.

De'Andre Hunter had 27 points and seven rebounds off the bench to lead Atlanta, which had a four-game winning streak snapped. Trae Young finished with 25 points and 12 assists in the loss. 

 

Dallas Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd heaped praise on Luka Doncic after his franchise-record 73 points helped them past the Atlanta Hawks on Friday, declaring: "He is the game plan".

The Mavs arrived at State Farm Arena looking to halt a three-game losing run, and Doncic ensured they did exactly that with a historic performance in their 148-143 victory.

He tied Wilt Chamberlain and David Thompson for the fourth-best return in NBA history. Chamberlain also holds the scoring record with a 100-point game and also had a 78-point performance to his name, while Kobe Bryant racked up 81 points against the Toronto Raptors in 2006.

Doncic's incredible performance came just four days after the Philadelphia 76ers' Joel Embiid brought up 70 points in a win over the San Antonio Spurs.

Kidd was more than happy to let Doncic take centre-stage and believes the Slovenian will have been frustrated to miss out on a triple-double after adding 10 rebounds and seven assists.

"He is the game plan," Kidd said of Doncic. "The three assists are what he's probably thinking about in the locker room to have a triple-double!"

Doncic himself was focused purely on helping Dallas end their slump, saying: "We've been struggling lately, so the mindset was to go and get a win. We played great."

He was not the only player to put in a huge performance on Friday, with Devin Booker scoring 62 points for the Phoenix Suns, only to finish on the losing side against the Indiana Pacers. 

Obi Toppin's putback broke a tie with just under four seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, guiding Indiana to a 133-131 victory and ruining Booker's remarkable display.

"He's a great player," Toppin said of Booker. "But in that fourth quarter, we decided to hit and send another defender to get the ball out of his hands and just scramble out of that. They didn't like it at all. I think it was their worst quarter.

"We needed points so our objective was just to get involved, crash the boards. I saw Bennedict [Mathurin] try to finish over someone and then Pascal [Siakam] was right in front of me, so I just grabbed the ball and put it in."

Luka Doncic became the fourth player to score 73 points or more in NBA history as Dallas Mavericks beat Atlanta Hawks 148-143.

The 24-year-old’s haul also set a franchise record for the Mavericks, easily surpassing his personal best of 60 points, scoring 41 in the first half.

Doncic now joins an elite list of players, moving level with Wilt Chamberlain and David Thomson with 73 points, while Chamberlain holds the NBA record scoring with 100 points and also had a 78-point game, with Kobe Bryant racking up 81 points.

The Slovenian’s impressive tally comes only four days after Joel Embiid set a new Philadelphia 76ers scoring record after bagging 70 points in a 133-123 victory over San Antonio Spurs.

Doncic’s 73 points helped the Mavericks earn an important win having come into the match on a three-game losing streak.

“We’ve been struggling lately. Mindset was to get a win,” Doncic told the NBA website.

“(The performance) probably (ranks) at the top, one of the top. But I’m glad we got a win.”

In the Western Conference, leaders Oklahoma City Thunder won their fifth game in a row by beating New Orleans Pelicans 107-83, while LA Clippers earned a 127-107 win against Toronto Raptors.

Memphis Grizzlies edged to a 107-106 victory over Orlando Magic, Indiana Pacers also bagged a narrow 133-131 win against Phoenix, despite Devin Booker’s 62-point haul for the Suns.

Houston Rockets beat Charlotte Hornets 138-104 and San Antonio Spurs earned an important 116-100 victory over fellow strugglers Portland Trail Blazers.

In the Eastern Conference, Milwaukee fell to a 112-100 defeat against Cleveland Cavaliers, with the Bucks announcing Doc Rivers as their new head coach after the game.

Luka Dončić scored a franchise-record 73 points to tie for the fourth-most in NBA history in the Dallas Mavericks’ 148-143 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Friday.

Doncic surpassed his previous career high of 60 points after scoring a team-record 41 in the first half.

He joined Wilt Chamberlain and David Thompson as players to score 73 points. Chamberlain, who owns the NBA record with 100 points, also had a 78 and a 73-point game, while Kobe Bryant scored 81 on Jan. 22, 2006.

Doncic shot 25 of 33 from the field, was 8 of 13 from 3-point range and made 15 of 16 free throws. He also had 10 rebounds and seven assists in 44 ½ minutes.

No other player has ever had as many points, rebounds and assists in the same game as Doncic did.

His milestone game came in his original NBA home, at least for a few minutes. Doncic was drafted by the Hawks with the No. 3 overall pick in 2018 before having his draft rights traded to Dallas for Young with the No. 5 pick and a 2019 first-round pick used to select Cam Reddish.

Josh Green had 21 points and Tim Hardaway Jr. was the only other Dallas player in double figures with 13 points. The Mavericks snapped a three-game skid and sent the Hawks to their fourth straight loss.

Trae Young led Atlanta with 30 points and Jalen Johnson added 25.

Pacers rally to spoil Booker’s big night

Obi Toppin snapped a tie on a putback with 3.4 seconds remaining and the Indiana Pacers overcame Devin Booker’s 62 points in a 133-131 win, snapping the Phoenix Suns’ seven-game winning streak.

Booker scored 50 or more points for the second time this season and seventh time in his career, falling eight shy of matching his career-high 70 set at Boston on March 24, 2017.

Pascal Siakam scored 31 points and Toppin finished with 23 and 11 rebounds to help Indiana win its second straight without All-Star guard Tyrese Haliburton.

The Pacers fell behind 54-37 in the second quarter but whittled the deficit down to 80-70 at halftime. They trailed 114-105 entering the fourth but tied it twice in the final 90 seconds before Toppin’s basket won it.

Harden powers Clippers past Raptors

James Harden had 22 points, 13 assists and 10 rebounds for his 75th career triple-double to lead the Los Angeles Clippers to their fourth straight win, 127-107 over the Toronto Raptors.

Harden, who notched his first triple-double this season, ranks eighth all-time in that category. He has at least 20 points and 10 assists in each of his last three games.

Paul George scored 21 points and Russell Westbrook added 20 as the Clippers won for the 12th time in 14 games.

Scottie Barnes scored 14 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter for the Raptors, who lost their fourth straight and ninth in 11 games.

LeBron James quipped that Anthony Davis was learning from him after the latter turned in a star showing against the Dallas Mavericks.

Though James did have other things on his mind as he spoke to the media in the wake of the Los Angeles Lakers' 127-110 victory on Tuesday.

While D'Angelo Russell led the Lakers with 29 points, and James chipped in with 25 points, eight rebounds and eight assists, it was Davis who stole the show.

Davis finished with 28 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists as he fell just short of his second triple-double in the space of three games.

Asked about Davis in the locker room after the game, James said with a smile: "He's learning from me how to pass out of the post.

"He's been working on it and it’s great. Teams are going to stop doubling him soon.

"As long as we make shots out there for him. It's our job to make sure we are in the right position at the right time when he gets doubled."

James was not wholly focused on answering the media's questions, however, as he was simultaneously keeping an eye on how his son Bronny was getting on in the USC Trojans' matchup against the Arizona Wildcats.

USC ultimately lost 82-67, with James shouting "Shoot it!" several times through his media huddle.

While the Lakers have now won six of their last four games, the Mavs have lost three of their last five, with Luka Doncic's triple-double on his return from injury not enough against Los Angeles.

Doncic finished with 33 points but was only 2-for-9 when it came to 3-pointers.

"First game back was tough with the legs. I thought a lot of 3s were going in and they didn't," he said.

Mavericks coach Jason Kidd added: "We generated a lot of wide-open looks and they didn't drop for us.

"They made it a point to have pace and took advantage of the misses. When you miss open shots against a team like that, they are going to make you pay."

For Lakers coach Darvin Ham, it is now a case of his team being able to replicate the urgency they showed at both ends of the court, starting against the Brooklyn Nets on Friday.

"Usually when you play good defense, it triggers good offense," Ham said.

"Everyone was having that sense of urgency to be in attack mode. We have to bottle it up and continue to work at it and sustain what we do well."

Stephen Curry and Steve Kerr both admitted the Golden State Warriors are still searching for an identity after they were beaten by a Luka Doncic-inspired Dallas Mavericks team on Saturday.

The Warriors sit a disappointing 11th in the Western Conference with a 15-17 record after losing their third straight game, with Curry's 25-point haul not enough to prevent a 132-122 defeat.

Doncic was the catalyst for Dallas upon his return to the fold after sitting out Thursday's loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves due to injury, finishing with 39 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds.

Golden State have seen their last two losses arrive at Chase Center, having also gone down to a Miami Heat team deprived of Jimmy Butler, Kyle Lowry and Caleb Martin two days earlier.

While injuries and suspensions – most notably for forward Draymond Green – have hampered the Warriors' attempts to find consistency this season, Curry knows they need to do so quickly.

"We've experimented a lot, some for forced reasons, sometimes just us searching for an identity," Curry said. "We haven't found it collectively. 

"It's frustrating, for sure, 32 games in. Any team that is a seriously competitive contender, a good team, can usually answer that question. We have to get to that point before it's too late."

Coach Kerr agreed with that assessment, saying: "We haven't found that grit that every good team needs, where you pull together and you just play for the group. We are not there yet, and that's a problem. 

"We have great guys, but until every team connects in a way that is solely dedicated to winning each game, then we are going to be stuck in this place."

The Warriors were the latest team to fail to contain Doncic, who has scored at least 39 points in his last four games, only failing to reach 30 once in 13 outings in December – when he managed 28 against the Los Angeles Clippers.

He is just the second player in NBA history to average at least 35 points, eight rebounds and 10 assists per game across a calendar month (minimum 10 games played), after Oscar Robertson did so for the Cincinnati Royals in December 1960.

While Kerr was disappointed with the Warriors' defensive efforts, he acknowledged they had simply failed to live with one of the foremost contenders for MVP honours.

"We tried to mix it up on him," Kerr said. "We single-covered him, we switched, we hit him. We tried a lot of different things, but he is a brilliant player and he had a phenomenal game. 

"We weren't communicating. We had some good stretches when we were getting stops, and then our communication broke down."

Dallas Mavericks coach Jason Kidd said the team can never take Luka Doncic for granted after he brought up 10,000 career points in their Christmas-Day win over the Phoenix Suns.

Doncic reached the milestone in style, scoring 50 points in a 128-114 road win as he became just the fourth player in league history to post a half-century of points on Christmas Day, after Bernard King, Wilt Chamberlain and Rick Barry.

Having entered the game 11 points short of bringing up five figures, he has reached 10,000 points in just 358 games. Only Chamberlain, Michael Jordan, Elgin Baylor, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Oscar Robertson and George Gervin have done so in fewer outings.

Doncic's big moment came early on when he hit a 34-foot three-pointer in the first quarter, and Kidd heaped praise upon his talisman after his dominant outing.  

"As I've always said, we can't take him for granted when he's feeling it," Kidd said. "You're just trying to get him the ball as much as possible. 

"You're also trying to figure out how to get him some rest because we weren't going to take him out there in the second half, so we needed to ask him or someone to be able to run the offense.

"I thought he did a great job of letting other guys bring the ball up, but when he's going like that, you've got to get him the ball, and you trust your quarterback's going to do the right thing."

Asked how it felt to reach the landmark, Doncic said: "Always, when this kind of award comes with a win, it's even more fun.

"It was a tough road game, and we won. So, outside of the 10K and 50 points, we won the game. So, I'm really happy.

"I love playing in these environments, especially away. It's fun for me. When you make a shot, the whole gym is quiet, so that's the best feeling in the world."

Doncic's mammoth performance proved Grayson Allen's 32-point haul for the Suns redundant, with Kevin Durant also tacking on 16 for the hosts.

Phoenix are now 14-15 and sit 11th in the Western Conference, having lost five of their last six games including each of their last three in a row.

Star guard Devin Booker said of the Suns' slump: "We just have to get it together. 

"That's on me, that's on coach, that's on KD, all the leaders that we have in here to make sure that we're prepared."

In a Christmas Day slate full of noteworthy performances, Luka Doncic was the star atop the Christmas tree.

Doncic scored 50 points, eclipsing 10,000 for his career, and added six rebounds and 14 assists as the Dallas Mavericks beat the Phoenix Suns 128-114 in the NBA’s Christmas night cap.

Doncic went 8 of 16 from 3-point range and made all 12 of his free throw attempts as he reached the 10,000-point milestone in 358 career games, the seventh-fastest in NBA history.

Rookie center Dereck Lively II added 20 points and 10 rebounds for his fifth double-double, while Derrick Jones Jr. contributed 23 points.

Grayson Allen led the Suns with 32 points while Kevin Durant (4 for 11) and Devin Booker (6 for 14) had poor shooting nights.

Celtics get first Christmas win over Lakers

Kristaps Porzingis had 28 points and 11 rebounds, Jayson Tatum scored 25 despite an off shooting night and the Boston Celtics beat the Los Angeles Lakers 126-115.

The Celtics’ win was their first ever against the Lakers on Christmas Day, overcoming a 40-point, 13-rebound performance from Anthony Davis.

LeBron James had 16 points, nine rebounds and eight assists as the Lakers dropped to 2-6 since winning the NBA’s inaugural in-season tournament.

Jokic shines in win over Warriors

Nikola Jokic flirted with a triple-double and made all 18 of his free throw attempts, leading the Denver Nuggets to a 120-114 win over the Golden State Warriors.

Jokic had 26 points, 14 rebounds and eight assists for the defending champions as the Nuggets won a season-high fifth consecutive game and improved to 12-2 at Ball Arena this season.

Jamal Murray led Denver with 28 points.

The Warriors’ leading scorer was Andrew Wiggins, who netted 22 off the bench.

San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said Victor Wembanyama's absence from Saturday's defeat to the Dallas Mavericks was precautionary after the rookie was injured in a "freak" incident involving a ballboy.

Wembanyama did not play after rolling his right ankle during his pre-game warm-up, sustaining the injury when he stepped on a ballboy's foot following a driving layup.

The number one draft pick's absence was keenly felt as the Spurs fell to 4-24 with a crushing 144-119 defeat, Luka Doncic scoring 39 points in a triple-double within just three quarters for the Mavs.

With Wembanyama having missed Tuesday's defeat to the Milwaukee Bucks after experiencing pain in the same ankle, Popovich said the Spurs couldn't afford to take any risks, much to the 19-year-old's annoyance. 

"If it was a playoff game, I probably would've played him," Popovich said after the defeat. 

"He's not happy about it, but I would rather err on the conservative side since it's the same ankle that you just got a time limitation on. 

"But it was just a freak, freak accident before the game. You see it on the film, and you can't believe it."

Wembanyama is averaging 18.5 points, 10.7 rebounds and three blocks for the Spurs in his maiden campaign, with Saturday's game just the third he has missed.

For the Mavs, Doncic added 12 rebounds and 10 assists to his 39 points before departing near the end of the third quarter, recording his 36th 30-point triple-double, one shy of the league's record holder LeBron James.

It was his sixth triple-double of the season, while he is now just 11 points shy of 10,000 for his NBA career, a figure he will be confident of bringing up against the Phoenix Suns on Christmas Day.

More importantly, the result ended a three-game losing streak for a Dallas side still deprived of Kyrie Irving due to a heel injury, leading Doncic to praise the team's togetherness. 

"We still have some injuries, so we've got to still keep it together," he said. "Everybody's got to stay together and have a next-man-up mentality."

The Detroit Pistons lost their 26th straight game Saturday, falling 126-115 to the Brooklyn Nets to match the NBA record for longest losing streak in a season.

The Pistons joined the 2010-11 Cleveland Cavaliers and the 2013-14 Philadelphia 76ers to drop to 2-27 in their first season under Monty Williams.

These teams meet again Tuesday in Detroit, with the Pistons nearing the longest overall slide in league history. The 76ers dropped 28 in a row from late in the 2014-15 season through early 2015-16.

Mikal Bridges had 29 points, seven assists and six rebounds for the Nets, who had seven players in double figures to snap their five-game skid.

Jaden Ivey scored 23 points and Cade Cunningham had 22 as Detroit remained winless since October 28.

Brooklyn put the game away with a 15-0 run in the third and fourth quarters to open a 21-point lead.

Streaking Bucks handle Knicks

Giannis Antetokoumpo tallied 28 points, seven assists and seven rebounds to lead the Milwaukee Bucks to their seventh straight win, 130-111 over the New York Knicks in the opener of a two-game series.

Bobby Portis had 23 points and 11 rebounds, Khris Middleton added 20 points and Damain Lillard contributed 19 points, nine boards and seven assists to help the Bucks win their ninth game in a row against the Knicks.

The teams will meet again on Monday in front of a national TV audience.

Jalen Brunson poured in 36 points for New York after he had 45 points in a loss to Milwaukee on November 3.

The Bucks essentially put the game out of reach with an 11-0 run early in the fourth quarter, turning an 11-point lead into a 114-92 cushion on Portis’ 3-pointer with 6:29 remaining.

Doncic stars in Mavericks’ win as Wembanyama sits

Luka Doncic had 39 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists to power the Dallas Mavericks to a 144-119 rout of the San Antonio Spurs, who were without rookie Victor Wembanyama.

Doncic recorded his seventh triple-double of the season and 63rd of his career in just three quarters. It was his 36th triple-double with at least 30 points, one shy of LeBron James for third on the career list.

Wembanyama did not play after the rookie stepped on a ball boy’s foot after taking a few steps following a shot before the game.

The Spurs lost their fourth straight and have dropped 22 of their last 23 games.

The Detroit Pistons lost their 26th straight game Saturday, falling 126-115 to the Brooklyn Nets to match the NBA record for longest losing streak in a season.

The Pistons joined the 2010-11 Cleveland Cavaliers and the 2013-14 Philadelphia 76ers to drop to 2-27 in their first season under Monty Williams.

These teams meet again Tuesday in Detroit, with the Pistons nearing the longest overall slide in league history. The 76ers dropped 28 in a row from late in the 2014-15 season through early 2015-16.

Mikal Bridges had 29 points, seven assists and six rebounds for the Nets, who had seven players in double figures to snap their five-game skid.

Jaden Ivey scored 23 points and Cade Cunningham had 22 as Detroit remained winless since Oct. 28.

Brooklyn put the game away with a 15-0 run in the third and fourth quarters to open a 21-point lead.

Streaking Bucks handle Knicks

Giannis Antetokoumpo tallied 28 points, seven assists and seven rebounds to lead the Milwaukee Bucks to their seventh straight win, 130-111 over the New York Knicks in the opener of a two-game series.

Bobby Portis had 23 points and 11 rebounds, Khris Middleton added 20 points and Damain Lillard contributed 19 points, nine boards and seven assists to help the Bucks win their ninth game in a row against the Knicks.

The teams will meet again on Monday in front of a national TV audience.

Jalen Brunson poured in 36 points for New York after he had 45 points in a loss to Milwaukee on Nov. 3.

The Bucks essentially put the game out of reach with an 11-0 run early in the fourth quarter, turning an 11-point lead into a 114-92 cushion on Portis’ 3-pointer with 6:29 remaining.

Doncic stars in Mavericks’ win as Wembanyama sits

Luka Dončić had 39 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists to power the Dallas Mavericks to a 144-119 rout of the San Antonio Spurs, who were without rookie Victor Wembanyama.

Doncic recorded his seventh triple-double of the season and 63rd of his career in just three quarters. It was his 36th triple-double with at least 30 points, one shy of LeBron James for third on the career list.

Wembanyama did not play after the rookie stepped on a ball boy’s foot after taking a few steps following a shot before the game.

The Spurs lost their fourth straight and have dropped 22 of their last 23 games.

Anthony Davis knows there is "no help coming" for the Los Angeles Lakers, who must find a way to overturn their poor form.

The Lakers have won just one of their five games since they beat the Indiana Pacers to claim the inaugural NBA in-season tournament trophy in Las Vegas earlier this month.

Their latest defeat came on Wednesday at the hands of the Chicago Bulls, with DeMar DeRozan leading his team to a 124-108 triumph.

LeBron James had 25 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists, but it was not enough as the Lakers slumped to a third straight loss.

"We all hate losing," said Davis, who finished with 19 points and 14 rebounds.

"There's no break coming. No help coming. There's no cavalry. We've got to do it within this locker room.

"We've got everyone back now. We've just got to find a way to get in the win column."

Without injured All-Star Zach LaVine, it was another accomplished display from the Bulls, who had a poor start to the campaign but are now hitting form.

"We were going through it," said DeRozan, who scored 27 points, adding seven rebounds and nine assists.

"Sometimes you've got to go through it so you can find a different type of motivation that you can come together with. The best relationships come out of that."

The Bulls are 7-3 in LaVine's absence due to right foot inflammation, though coach Billy Donovan still wants his talisman back healthy as soon as possible.

"Anytime you lose a really, really great player, and a talented, gifted player like Zach, it always hurts you. I'm certainly hopeful when he gets himself healthy he can get back to where he was," he said.

"I think with what he was dealing with his foot for a long period of time, I'm not so sure that he was ever right."

While the Lakers endure a skid, their city rivals the Los Angeles Clippers maintained their league-best form.

The Clippers extended their winning run to nine games as Kawhi Leonard's 30 points lifted them to a 120-111 victory over the Dallas Mavericks.

Luka Doncic recorded his sixth triple-double of the season but it was not enough for the Mavs, who fell foul of another fine Clippers display.

"It's going to take time for them to find the rhythm, find the continuity, find the chemistry," said Norman Powell, who scored 21 points off the Clippers' bench.

"It's no summer league, summertime pickup basketball where you're doing whatever you want.

"There's a system in place, and everybody's got to figure out their role and how it goes."

Luka Doncic said "everything hurts" after he battled through the pain to propel the Dallas Mavericks to victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday.

Doncic finished with 33 points and 17 assists as the Mavericks defeated LeBron James' Lakers – fresh from their in-season tournament victory last weekend – 127-125.

It marked the second win in as many nights for Dallas, though talisman Doncic had been listed as questionable following Monday's win over the Memphis Grizzlies.

"I don't know how I played," Doncic said.

"I slept very little today. Everything hurts. I'm getting old, man, but we got two back-to-back wins, which is amazing, especially against a team like the Lakers.

"So I'm really proud of these guys."

Speaking to TNT Sports, Doncic added: "You give your best, you want to stay on the court.

"This is an amazing team win, man. Back-to-back, we've got so many guys out, but everybody stepped up, everybody played hard."

Doncic also shared a moment with James, who also had 33 points, at the end of the game.

"It's amazing, the way he talks with me," Doncic said. "One of the best, it's a great relationship. I'm glad, coming from Slovenia, that I can play games like this against LeBron. It's special."

The Mavs needed Doncic to step up, with Kyrie Irving, Maxi Kleber, Josh Green and Derrick Jones Jr all out injured.

"Anytime you play a guy like Luka that's so talented, so good passing the ball, but obviously scores it as well, it makes it tough," Lakers guard Austin Reaves said.

"That's the challenge when you have a guy like that on the other team that you're trying to slow down."

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